Sunday, September 29, 2013

87 Days

It's that special time of year again, school fundraiser time....  So, I used those catalogs to buy a little Christmas wrapping paper.  Yes, it's very expensive and you don't get much for the price, but it helps my daughter's school and I know I will already have some paper in the house when I do finally get ready to wrap presents.

So, one more thing checked off this list.  Hoping to make an inventory of all my supplies this week so I'll know what I really need.  We'll see if I get to that this week....

87 days to go.....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

88 Days

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's easy to get caught up in our immediate needs and wants.  That's especially true during the holidays.  We usually try to do for others, but this year I want to be a little more conscious and intentional about helping others this Christmas.

So today I began making a list of charity programs in our area that are near and dear to my heart.  Those are the ones I want to focus on this Christmas, and make sure they don't get lost in the shuffle.  I highly recommend thinking about ways you can help others, especially around holiday time.  It doesn't have to be solely monetary donations, but help in other ways, such as delivering meals, donating food, or simply praying for those in need and those working to help them.

So, my list of groups I want to help this year has been made and is going into my trusty Christmas 2013 folder.  I'm hoping to come up with some creative ways to spread more Christmas joy this year, and I will blog about those later.

88 days to go.....

Thursday, September 26, 2013

90 Days

If you're like me, you come up with or see lots of little crafty ideas but talk yourself out of actually doing them.  I usually tell myself that I don't have time to tackle another project, but seem to have time to watch TV and play on the computer. :)  Today's project was one of those that I've put off for some time. 

I've read several articles about reusing old Christmas cards for various purposes, including making them into tags for the next year's presents.  I've kept old cards, mostly for sentimental reasons, but also to do this craft "someday".  Tonight, I got out the scissors, when to the card basket and in literally less than 5 minutes had some really cute tags.  Now that I've finished several, I just put them in a small Ziploc bag and put them into my Christmas folder.  I can handle 5 minute projects...

I think they turned out very well. 

90 days to go.....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

91 Days

Here is the finished product of experimenting with a motif pattern to make a Christmas placemat.  I love that it's round, looks delicate but is thick and will hold up well, and kind of looks like a poinsettia.  I'm pretty happy with my prototype - think I'll make 5 more soon.  I'm trying to decide if they will all be the same color, or if I will add in some greens and whites. 

But for now, I am happy that I took the time now before things get too crazy to start on a little something that I will like seeing throughout the season.

91 days to go.....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

92 Days

I've been thinking about Christmases past, and which decorations I loved and which ones weren't my favorites.  I find that I tend to love the handmade, one of a kind pieces so much more than the mass produced ones (even though they are beautiful too).  I am hoping to carve out time to make a few new things to put around the house this holiday season.  I'm hoping I can talk my daughter into making a few new creations too.

I've been trying to find the perfect Christmas placemats or tablecloths for quite a while but haven't had much luck.  We tend to get tablecloths dirty quickly, and I just haven't found placemats that I like.  So, I decided to crochet a new set this year.  I'm adapting a motif pattern into a round placemat pattern in Christmas red.  I started the first placemat tonight and almost have it finished.  I am much better at short term projects that I can easily put down and pick back up.

Pictures tomorrow... I promise!

92 days to go.....

Monday, September 23, 2013

93 Days

I know that I am the queen of lists, but today's list is very important.  It's the sometimes dreaded gift list.  I make a spreadsheet of my information and it makes life so much easier. 

The first few columns of my gift list spreadsheet include all those that I need to buy presents for, any gift ideas that I may have had throughout the year, and my budget.  I know budgets aren't fun to talk about, especially during the excesses of the holidays, but having a budget and knowing how you're doing helps keep those January and February monetary blues from striking quite so hard. 

The last few columns of the spreadsheet are where I put in what presents I actually purchased, if they are wrapped, and how much I actually spent.  I'm thinking about adding another column listing where I got the items.  That might help in case anything has to be returned.

This spreadsheet is great to save and adapt each year.  It also really helps me out, because I usually can't remember what I bought for everyone from year to year and it keeps me from giving the same present to the same person twice.

I have updated this year's list, printed it out, and put it in the Christmas 2013 folder.  Hopefully by updating and printing this out early, I will be inspired to start shopping a little earlier.  We'll see.....

93 days to go......

Sunday, September 22, 2013

94 Days

Took a day to look over everything that's been done so far.  I feel that it's going well, but the next few weeks will be key in making sure I don't feel overwhelmed later.  Making a game plan for the week; more to come soon!

94 days....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

95 Days

One of the big items on our "fun" list that I mentioned earlier in the week was to spend more time with family and friends.  I decided that the best way to get some of my crafting done and get to spend time with friends was to combine the two.  So, a great friend, who is incredibly crafty herself, came over and we had a girls' dinner and craft night.  We shared in preparing the meal, and crafted while catching up with each other.  It was so much fun; a great way to get needed items done while enjoying a nice block of time.  I worked on Christmas items while she and my daughter worked on Halloween crafts.

I love to paint anything on any surface.  These snowman candles are an example.  I keep adding more snowmen and snow women to my collection because I really enjoy making these.  There's a multi-step process involved to do it correctly and keep the paint adhering to the wax, but it's well worth it.  So, now I am on my way to having a few items done.

If you would like to give one of these as a gift yourself, you can find them on my website at

Here's what the back of the candles look like.  Love adding extra touches!

My daughter loves decorating for all the holidays as much as I do, and she is working through some of her Halloween projects.  She decided to do a duct tape jack-o-lantern and add details with a black Sharpie.  She loved how the Sharpie ran into the edges of the duct tape to give it a rough effect. She's very crafty herself.

I don't have a picture of the awesome Halloween craft my friend made.  I'm hoping she will send me a picture that I can add later.  She made small fabric covered witches hats that looked incredible.  The Halloween fabric was awesome.  I'm going to have to learn how to do them too.

It was a great evening spent eating well, laughing a lot and enjoying a little time crafting.  The shift in thinking in getting ready for the holidays seems to be paying off - at least for today.

95 days to go....

Friday, September 20, 2013

96 Days

This week has been hectic and exhausting.  After some thought, I decided to take today off from my preparations.  After all, this is a steady, small process.  I also have big plans tomorrow to get my house decorated for fall and to make a few Christmas items.  We'll see how it all comes together...

96 Days.....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

97 Days

I make a lot of lists; seriously, a lot.  I think I would make a list of lists if I could.  It's the only way I seem to be able to keep track of anything anymore.  So, of course I am making another list today.  But I want this to be fun, simple and not time consuming. 

So today's list are of the things that we want to do during the holiday time.  Almost every year the fun extra things we want to do get put aside for the things we think "need" to be done.  So, today's Christmas list of fun things we want to do includes, Christmas movie night (or maybe the whole day - we love our Christmas movies), extra sleepovers with craft projects that the kids can take home and give as presents, riding to look at Christmas lights, making lots of cookies, and planning time to get together with friends.  Sounds like a list I definitely want to follow.

I'm carefully putting this list in my Christmas envelope.  I'm hoping by placing it with the traditional "to-do" lists that this list will get completed too.

97 days to go....

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

98 Days

Today, was a cool, cloudy fall like day.  The cooler weather helps me think ahead about all the decadent food, warm clothes, and time with family and friends that lie ahead.  Christmas is an amazing time of year, and I'm hoping this year I won't be so frazzled that I miss it. 

So, today I printed out my Christmas card spreadsheet.  I'm certainly not ready to look at it yet, but just printing it out and putting it in my special Christmas envelope makes me feel like I've done something.  It's all about breaking the process down into small, baby steps.

If you don't have your Christmas card list on a spreadsheet, I highly recommend taking the time to put in all the information.  It saves so much time in the long run.  As much as people move and situations change, it's so much easier to update on the computer.  I also don't have to hunt for my address book that's been lost for a few years.

I'm also thinking about all those little gifts that I forget to buy.  I have some ideas on how to prepare those in upcoming posts.

98 days to go!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

99 Days

Today was hectic, as all days are now.  The thoughts of all the things that need to be done are overwhelming.  So, I decided to start off very simply in preparing for Christmas, because I know if I  do too much too soon, I'll start to put everything off.

So, for today I found a large mailing envelope and labeled it "Christmas 2013".  It will hold all my receipts, lists, addresses and other craziness.  I put it in my letter holder where I will have to see it every day.  Little visual reminders always help!

99 Days to go....

*** 2015 Update***:  It's hard to believe I started this idea two years ago!  After Christmas when you can't remember what you spent where, and what you bought for each person, this will become a lifesaver.  If you don't want to start a new envelope each year, just sort through the old information in the folder, decide what to keep, and change the year.  It's such a simple thing to do, but makes it so much easier to organize and keep on track each year!

Monday, September 16, 2013

100 Days

As I've been reminded several times today, it's 100 days until Christmas.  While I am one of those people who love to decorate and dive into the holiday season early, I am horrible at getting the essentials done without stressing myself and everyone around me.  So, this year I am going to try to break down the things that I need (or want) to get done into small tasks so that I can enjoy Christmas and get caught up in the blessings instead of the craziness.  I am hoping to still enjoy the changing of seasons and the importance of everyday life; I just don't want my to do list to become longer than Santa's list.  So, join me as I will try to post my ideas every week for how to break down the tasks.  This will either be a great success or maybe a flaming disaster. :) 

I hope to add paintings, new holiday crafts and homemade gift suggestions along the way for you too. If you have ideas that you'd like to share , by all means let me know.

Wish me luck!!